His Last Duchess by Gabrielle KimmWhen sixteen-year-old Lucrezia de Medici marries the fifth Duke of Ferrara, Alfonso dEste, she imagines life with her handsome husband will be idyllic. But little does she know that he is a very complicated man. The marriage is fraught with difficulties from the start, and, as time passes, Lucrezia becomes increasingly alienated. For Alfonso, the pressure mounts as the Vatican threatens to reclaim his title should the couple remain unable to produce an heir. Only his lover Francesca seems able to tame his increasing fury. But Alfonsos growing resentment towards his duchess soon becomes unbearable, and he begins to plot an unthinkable way to escape his problems. Originally inspired by a Robert Browning poem, His Last Duchess gorgeously brings to life the passions and people of sixteenth-century Tuscany and Ferrara. It is a story you are unlikely to forget for a long time.
Robert Browning: Poems Summary and Analysis of "My Last Duchess"
These details are revealed throughout the poem, but understanding them from the opening helps to illustrate the irony that Browning employs. At the poem's opening, the duke has just pulled back a curtain to reveal to the envoy a portrait of his previous duchess. The portrait was painted by Fra Pandolf, a monk and painter whom the duke believes captured the singularity of the duchess's glance. As he puts it, she was "too easily impressed" into sharing her affable nature. His tone grows harsh as he recollects how both human and nature could impress her, which insulted him since she did not give special favor to the "gift" of his "nine-hundred-years-old" family name and lineage. Refusing to deign to "lesson" her on her unacceptable love of everything, he instead "gave commands" to have her killed.
The duke virtually suffered of megalomania, as he considered himself to be an almost supernatural being which had been endowed with the power to control other people's lives. The duke did not consider his wife to be more than a simple object, as he almost identified her with a painting. Furthermore, he believed his wife to be similar to something that could simply be replaced when it finished serving its purpose.
from one mother to another quotes
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It first appeared in in Browning's Dramatic Lyrics. Lucrezia was not well educated, and the Medicis could be considered " nouveau riche " in comparison to the venerable and distinguished Este family Alfonso II d'Este's remark regarding his gift of a "nine-hundred-years-old name" clearly indicates that he considered his bride beneath him socially. She came with a sizeable dowry , and the couple married in He then abandoned her for two years before she died on 21 April , at age There was a strong suspicion of poisoning. Madruz is presumably the listener in the poem. The poem is set in the Italian Renaissance.